Monthly Archives: July 2012

Asian Ginger Carrot Dressing

When it comes to salad dressing, I don’t usually experiment much. There’s the classic Ranch, but to be honest, I don’t like light Ranch. I only like the full-fat, tasty deliciousness of Hidden Valley Ranch. Mmmm. Or Newman’s Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette. So, Gina at Skinny Taste posted a recipe for Asian Ginger Carrot Dressing, and I just had to dry it. You should click HERE  for the recipe.

Basically, you mince some onion, garlic, celery, and carrot. Shred. Mince. Whatever. And then you stick it in a blender. My blender is a little lousy, so I used my Cuisinart.



Here’s the finished product… It put it in two containers this size. Small.


I put it on a salad with field greens, butter lettuce, grape tomatoes, and hearts of palm. The verdict? It was good, but spicy. And I’m not really a spicy person.


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To someone who feels like giving up…

Dear Friend,

You’re working so hard to reach a very difficult goal. You can’t just give something up and never use/eat/do it again. You have to conquer all of the reasons you’re here in the first place, and that is no easy task. Maybe you have a weakness for sweets or crave salty, crunch snacks. Maybe you despise exercise (um, guilty!) or lack the confidence to be the new/uncoordinated/out of shape/downright clumsy (um, again… me) person in a gym full of toned gym rats. Maybe you have medical issues that make it difficult for you to take on new activity or maybe those medical issues greatly limit your dietary options. Maybe you’re so overwhelmed with your life that you can barely get through the day, let alone add something else into the mix.

And maybe you’re thinking you just can’t do this. Maybe you feel resigned. Maybe you think this is as good as it’s going to get. Maybe you think you don’t deserve to reach your goal. Maybe you think you’re not good enough or that it won’t matter anyway.

Well, I disagree! You CAN do this. Setting a weight goal can be helpful, but remember that the most important thing is your health. How your body feels and what it can do for you, as well as numbers that actually show how your body is working (blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, etc.) means so much more than a number on a scale. It’s okay to sometimes feel down. It’s okay to wonder if you’re ever going to make it. For a little while. But then you have to get back on track, give yourself a pep talk, and be back on your way to reaching your goal.

I can’t really speak as someone who has reached her goal, because I haven’t. It is so hard! But, I keep trying. I plan meals, I try to make time for some exercise, and I try to remind myself daily that this isn’t just a diet. It’s not just trying to get to a goal weight. This is changing my lifestyle forever. This is how it’s going to be… FOREVER (dum dum DUM!!!!). I try to brush it off if I slip and indulge a little too much on the weekend. I try to remind myself that this is an overall thing and that the weekly weigh-ins are just a tool and not the only reflection of my efforts. Even though I’d love to look smokin’ in some outfit completely inappropriate for someone my age (Oh heck, I’ll probably wear that outfit at a party anyway and just embarrass myself…) and even though I’d be absolutely delighted to see a certain goal weight when I step on the scale, those aren’t the most important things. I want to be healthy. I want to know my insides are running as well as possible. I want to know that I’m giving my body the best shot possible to be here (and in good health!) when my little ones become big ones and have their own little ones.

Well, look at this… I started this as a response to a comment requesting a letter of encouragement for a friend. And then I started rambling. It happens. And I meant to craft it into something well-written and something very meaningful, but, well… Sometimes I get a bit impatient and now I’m ready to just click the “Post” button… So I’ll leave you with some links of encouragement!

Here’s some inspiration (click on the name for a link to the story and photos):

  • Dan went from 340 pounds to 182!
  • Jough went from 451 to 275 and is aiming to get to 200!
  • Jeffrey went from 425 to 175!
  • Stacy went from 245 to 145!
  • Ben went from 560 to 350 and is still going!
  • An inspiring weight loss video
  • Heather lost 157 pounds and is now trying to compete the Ironman competition!
  • Tammey went from 575 to 165!

To the unknown friend struggling out there, I hope you stick with it. I think you can do it. Be patient with yourself! And to anyone else, ditto! 🙂

Zucchini Lasagna

Trying to cut back on carbs? If so, this one is definitely for you! I don’t have an exact recipe for you, as I tend to not measure. Sometimes this works in my favor, and sometimes… well, not so much. So, here are my best guesstimates! Oh, and there’s quite a bit of meat in this (feel free to leave it out!) only because if I’m substituting zucchini for noodles, I need to pick my battles at my house. There’s NO WAY I’d get away with a meatless zucchini lasagna here. It’s not necessarily low-fat and it might not be low-cal (it really depends on the meat, what type of sauce you use, how much cheese you use, etc…. it COULD be made very low cal and low fat), but getting all the veggies in from the noodles and tomatoes plus leaving out the noodles… It can’t be all that bad!

Zucchini Lasagna

  • 1 lb ground beef, cooked and crumbled
  • 3 zucchinis, sliced thin length-wise
  • 1 cup onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups spaghetti sauce
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Garlic powder, season salt, black pepper, to taste

Make your onion and garlic as tiny as possible… Stick it into a pot with a tiny bit of olive oil, and cook it slowly over low heat. How long you cook it is up to you. I cook it until it’s practically caramelized.

I just happened to have a container of leftover spaghetti sauce on hand. Whenever I have extras, I put it in small containers in the freezer. It always comes in handy! On the right we have a bunch of cooked ground beef and some plain Greek yogurt. Most recipes would have you mix ricotta with the beef, but I decided to lighten it up a little.

Mix that beef and ricotta up. I seasoned it a bit with garlic powder and season salt. The dish ended up way too meaty for me, but that was probably what convinced my kids to eat it!

Three glorious zucchinis ready for slaughter!

Thank you, zucchinis, for giving your life for this lasagna. Once they’re sliced, spread them on paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt. This will help the extra water come out. Then press them with a dry paper towel.

Stick some of the sauce in the bottom of the pan. I only used a 9×9 pan, but I’m sure you could stretch it out into a 9×12 pan.

Stack with zucchini, meat mixture, shredded cheddar, and a little more sauce.


Then put more zucchini on and repeat!



Bake at 350 until it looks done… I think this was about 35 minutes, and it could have gone a few more minutes. It’s really going to depend on if you want your zucchini a little crispy or if you want it really tender (both ways are good!). So… you’re just going to have to experiment a bit.

The finished product. It’s not very pretty. It would have looked a lot better had I let it cool all the way down before I cut into it… That’s how they do it for food photos. But who wants to bake something and then let it get cold before you eat it? Not me!

The Burpee…. ? Want to be mansome? Or ladysome? Ha…

Admittedly, I am not the most up-to-date about the exercise world. Okay, fine, I admit it. I know nothing about it and I’m really horrible about it. I stumbled across a video mainly because of the funny words popping out at me. Words like “burpee” and “mansome.” I mean, I think I’m going to start calling people mansome. “Wow, you’re looking quite mansome today!” But I suppose that’s only meant for men. So, for the ladies, do we use “ladysome”? Or “womansome”? I don’t know.

Anyway, here’s a move that is supposed to work your entire body. You don’t need any equipment. You don’t need anything but space. And you can do it INSIDE. In the AIR CONDITIONING. In the PRIVACY of your bedroom. Sweet. Remember, no excuses, people!

It says it’s the “best exercise for guys,” but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work for the ladies, too. I’m going to try these, although MY version is going to be MUCH slower and will probably be very awkward-looking. 🙂

P.S. In reading the comments on this, apparently this is nothing new (really, what is anymore???) and are also known by the less-silly name of “squat-thrusts.” But which sounds more fun? Squat thrusts or burpees? I would choose burpees…. If I’m going to exercise, it might as well make me laugh!

Having trouble with portion control? Here’s help!

When you’re eating something super tasty, it’s so hard to know when to stop. Some of us grew up being told to “clean our plates.” You were praised for eating everything on your plate. It turns out this doesn’t work well for some of us.

Head on over to Cooking Light’s website, and they have a page called “Portion Nutrition 101.” They have articles there like “10 Top Secrets of Portion Control,” “Why Portion Control Matters,” “Snacking Strategies,” “Portion Size Wise,” and “Restaurant Snack Menus.”

I read “Why Portion Control Matters,” and it was fascinating! It’s about a Cornell University food psychologist who does attention-grabbing studies about how people handle food. For example, one study compared tomato soup consumption from regular soup bowls versus from soup bowls with a hidden tube that kept refilling the bowl.

The article also explains the two brain systems at war over our food decisions. One side, the limbic system, is more survivalist and focused on getting food whenever it’s available. The other side, the analytic system, weighs things through and considers if we actually need the food. More often than not, the limbic system wins.

Anyway, take a look over here and read up for some interesting information about why we are the way we are!